Downtown Mesa Business Owner Turns 90
By Cecily Markland
At 90 years old, he is still serving a mission that began nearly seven decades ago.
“I never served an LDS mission. This is my mission,” says Wayne Pomeroy, indicating his store in downtown Mesa, where tens of thousands of missionaries have been outfitted over the years.
Wayne Pomeroy, born in Mesa March 13, 1923, graduated from Mesa High in 1941. He served in the US Air Force during WW II as a tail gunner and married Cecil Henrie in 1944 when he was home on leave and to recover from his war wounds.
Though crippled and having to wear a leg brace, Brother Pomeroy never let that slow him down.
He earned a degree in retailing from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from New York University, and went right back to working hard as he had done as a child.
“As a young boy, I had jillions of jobs in Mesa. At five years old, I sold cantaloupes out of a wagon,” he says.
But, when he settled into retails sales, he was there to stay.
“I’ve been 62 years in this same store,” says Brother Pomeroy.
Located on Mesa’s Main Street, Pomeroy’s Men Store began as a full-service men’s clothing store. Eventually, they added stores in Sun City, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Casa Grande and Tucson. As they grew, so did their focus on missionary clothing.
“The missionary business got bigger and bigger all the time,” Brother Pomeroy says.
Today, in the one remaining store, Pomeroy’s specializes in outfitting missionaries, both men and women. Pomeroy’s is the only Arizona store in an association of independent stores operating as “CTR stores.”
Brother Pomeroy says the association increases buying power, so they are able to provide double-seat pants and other “missionary-specific” features, quality and durability while keeping costs down.
“We are now outfitting the third and fourth generations of missionaries in some families,” he says, adding, “Everyone who works here is a returned missionary. Everyone is happy and there’s just a pleasant atmosphere.”
Brother Pomeroy still works in his office, upstairs from the retail floor.
“The only time I’m planning to retire when I can’t get up here anymore.” He says, while the staff, “still rely on me, which makes me feel good, I have an excellent manager, Doug Wimmer, and my daughter, [Michel Fluhr], has been with me for 36 years.”
Michel is the youngest of the Pomeroys’ four daughters. They have 11 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
The couple has lived in the same house, in Mesa 5th Ward, Maricopa North Stake, for 55 years. He has been active in the community for many years, including serving f nine years on Mesa’s City Council, as mayor for four years and leading the committee to acquire the sculptures that appear along downtown Main Street.
“The Lord has really blessed me,” Brother Pomeroy says of his 90 years. “I have a wonderful wife, a wonderful family.”
He wants to be remembered “as a decent person. I don’t want anyone to think I did anything unfairly. I want to be fair and nice and happy all the time.”